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Selecting a Site: Islamorada Venues

January 12th, 2009 by     


In my last venue entry, I listed the top three venues Plumeria Dude and I were eying in Atlanta. We liked the idea of getting married in the city we call home, but neither of our families were particularly jazzed. In one of our conversations on the topic, my mother said it was really important to her that we get married in Florida, where I grew up. My hometown of Vero Beach is a beautiful place but it definitely has its drawbacks. For one thing, it’ pricey. It’s also a rather sleepy retirement area. So that was out. But when I mentioned the Florida Keys, my mom perked up.

At one point we considered Key West, but we figured its relative inaccessibility (either via an expensive flight or a 3+ hour drive from Miami International Airport) would be too much of a burden on our guests. It is a great wedding location though!

Today we’ll look at three of our top choices in Islamorada, Fla., a town smack dab in the middle of the Florida Keys.

1. The Islander Resort

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This photo is actually of two acquaintances who got married at the Islander last summer.

Pros:

We stayed at the Islander last spring while on a venue-scouting trip. The resort is centrally located and retains its Keys charm while being up-to-date and having nice amenities. We loved the saltwater pool and the view is gorgeous. The staff was nice and the food at the tiki bar was tasty. Their rooms aren’t exorbitantly expensive and they all come with eat-in kitchens– a plus if you’re looking to save your guests some cash. And my brother and sister-in-law reported having tons of fun at the above wedding.

Cons:

Because it’s a larger resort, there’s less of an intimate feeling than there would be at a smaller venue. I don’t think bikinied beachgoers would wander into the ceremony, but there would be other people around. You are required to use their catering/bar service, which can be pricey. The dealbreaker for us was the required tent rental for an outdoor reception, which adds thousands to costs.

2. The Caribbean Resort

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Pros:

This place is truly breathtaking in person, with a lush, tropical pool (great for cocktail hour), wonderful view, and the accommodations are at Ritz-Carlton levels of fabulousness. I’m talking granite counter tops in the kitchens and Tommy Bahama chic everywhere. It’s more of a rental cottage setup than a traditional hotel. You can bring in your own catering and alcohol, which we liked. The resort has a very intimate feeling, due to the small property and the fact that wedding parties must book the entire place.

Cons:

In order to host a wedding, you must book all of the available cottages plus the large Plantation Houses (eek, I’m not in love with that name.) The idea is that you pay upfront for the accommodations, and your guests in turn will pay for rooms as needed. While we really fell in love with the atmosphere and the wow factor was high, the outlay of cash (especially in this economic climate) was too much to bear.

3. Coconut Palm Inn

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Pros

The photos don’t really do the place justice in my opinion. It has a very relaxed Keys vibe. It’s located on the bay side, meaning we could see the gorgeous Keys sunset during the reception. Their rooms are affordable and furnished in a cute tropical style. You can bring in your own catering/alcohol, thereby saving money. The staff is super friendly, and this place was Plumeria Dude’s and my favorite.

Cons

The inn is located in Tavernier, which is several miles north of Islamorada. Like the Caribbean Resort, it requires booking the entire place in order to host a wedding. There aren’t many other accommodation options nearby. My parents vetoed this choice because of concerns about the location and where the rest of our guests would stay.

Stay tuned for our final pick!

4 Responses to “Selecting a Site: Islamorada Venues”

  1. Jim Says:

    Why not give our little place, Pines & Palms Resort, a try? We are located in the heart of Islamorada and feature 25 cottages and rooms of various sizes. It has a classic Keys look to it, a nice beach, two docks and a nice freshwater heated swimming pool. Each room comes with a fully equipped kitchen and we work with various catering companies who can help with the wedding. Also (a popular feature) we can pre-book fishing charters for a special activity day on the water for those attending the wedding. Our web site is http://www.pinesandpalms.com.

    Jims last blog post..Kayak Adventures

  2. Plumeria Bud Says:

    Hi Jim– we’ve already booked our wedding site but I appreciate the suggestion! My family actually stayed at the Pines & the Palms a few times back in the 80s– good to hear it’s still going strong.

    I read your blog and had not heard about the fire at the Cheeca. How unfortunate!

  3. Ana Says:

    Hey plumeria,
    im starting to plan my wedding and i was looking around for venues to host the wedding
    at and the islander was already on my list, what venue did you end up picking? any tips
    you could give would be very helpful.
    thanks

  4. Sam Says:

    Hi plumeria,
    I am also planning my wedding and coconut palm inn was a place I was looking at, is this where you decided? What did you think of it? Thanks!
    Sam

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